Wrestling coach arrested, charged with sex crime

James Joseph McNamara II (Courtesy Johnston County Sheriff's Office)

March 28, 2012 9:00:00 PM PDT
Charges have been filed against a Johnston County high school teacher and many in the community say the are outraged.

Late Thursday afternoon, James McNamara, a teacher and wrestling coach at Corinth Holders High School, was arrested. He made his first court appearance Friday.

The 25-year-old is charged with one felony count of indecent liberties with a student. The alleged victim is a 16-year-old student at the school.

There has been a huge support group behind McNamara since the accusation came to light. Many parents and students claimed the story was made up.

Thursday evening, McNamara's mother, who teaches in the same school system, also came to his defense.

"It's not true. None of it is true," said Diane McNamara.

McNamara's supporters gathered at a restaurant again Thursday. They've created buttons and even a Facebook page.

"I never expected this at all," said sophomore wrestler Chris Benson.

"I can't believe it. It's not that I chose not to believe it," said sophomore wrestler Blake Grindstaff. "It's just I can't believe it."

"His standards are way above what they accuse him of," said sophomore wrestler Darius Dunn. "I just couldn't see him doing it."

School officials still haven't said what happened and, according to McNamara's supporters, they haven't told McNamara why they have suspended him.

"Him getting arrested isn't enough to me to prove that he's done anything wrong," said junior wrestler Charlie Grey.

McNamara is described as a tough and fair coach with a high moral ground, who urges his wrestlers to excel in class.

He's the kind of son, a mother would sacrifice her teaching job for.

"Johnston County has got the fight of their lives on their hands," said Diane McNamara. "Because we will not back down."

Diane McNamara believes the Johnston County Sheriff's Office arrested her son due to political pressure from the school board. She posted her son's bond and he has been released from jail. He is scheduled to appear in court Friday morning in Smithfield.

McNamara has been at Corinth Holders High School since Aug. 2010 as a history and civics teacher.

Johnston County Schools Public Information Officer Terri Sessoms released this statement, "Mr. McNamara's employment status with the school system continues to be suspension with pay. The school system is continuing to conduct a confidential review of this situation and continues to cooperate with law enforcement. As to any charges against Mr. McNamara, that is a law enforcement issue and inquiries related to any charges should be directed to law enforcement."

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